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Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  665 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–era of commercial flight, Pan Am World Airways attracted the kind of young woman who wanted out, and wanted up

Required to have a college degree, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconic Pan Am between 1966 and 1975 also had to be between 5′3" and 5′9"
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 2nd 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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TraceyL Yes and no. The book is based on a few real people who have shared their stories, and there are sections where the author is retelling those stories a…moreYes and no. The book is based on a few real people who have shared their stories, and there are sections where the author is retelling those stories as if it was happening. But it will then cut away and give a lot of facts about what else was going on in the world at the time, which adds contexts to those stories.

I think this is a much easier read than a lot of other non-fiction books that I've read, if that helps :)(less)

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Esta Montano
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In 1979 I became a flight attendant for Pan Am, The ten years that I spent traveling the world were perhaps the most exciting of my life, and by far the greatest learning experience I have every had. The airline's demise was devastating for us and many of us remain connected through Facebook pages. A number of books have been written by flight attendants, (including Pan Am flight attendants), and most of these have been on the frivolous side.

When I saw Come Fly the World on NetGalley, I immedia
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, history
Stewardess Wanted.
Must Want the World.


This book not only takes an interesting look at the lives and lifestyles of Pan Am stewardesses in the 60s and 70s but also at the world at large during that time.

The Vietnam War and the fight for equal female rights are most prominently covered. And, perhaps a little surprisingly, the three stewardesses through whose eyes we mainly see this story unfold had been largely involved in both.

The author, over the span of five years, has conducted several inte
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Focusing on the Pan Am Airline, Julia Cooke takes a deep dive into the back stories, dreams, and experiences of a handful of their flight attendants. All were hired just before or early in the Vietnam era and the rise of the iconic 747. I loved reading their stories and the ways they dealt with discrimination while also doing their jobs well. The three most heavily covered were also a part of the Vietnam flights for soldiers and the Babylift project. Seeing that time from their perspective is a ...more
eBook Giveaway Win!
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found the cover of this book misleading in what was between the covers. I thought it was going to be a light, gossipy read. A Coffee, Tea, or Me kind of book.

Boy, was I wrong. This is a fascinating dissertation of the real lives of Pan Am stewardesses in a time that was very different for women. I lived during those times so I knew them well.

I couldnt get enough of this book. The Vietnam stories were hard to read because I remember those years so vividly. The stewardess played a big part in o
lori light
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
***thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book***

Wow! I was drawn to this book because of the cover and the title. I'm a 15-year flight attendant and have always loved to read stories of the days when the job was glamorous. I thought it would be a fun read for these horrible times, especially with all the mask policing I'm doing at work these days. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for with this book.

I am floored by how much education I've gained from this book. I had no idea
Sandra "Jeanz"
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
I love the cover! It has a really glam, yet retro look to it. It brings to mind all the great things you associate with air hostesses. This cover certainly attracts your eye to it and encouraged me to think that the book would be from the point of view or at least solely about air hostesses.

The book does follow a few women, Karen, Lynne and Tori being the ones that stay in my mind. All these women have to fit/fill certain expectations such as weight and looks which would most likely be frowned u
William Harris
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading a delightful book entitled "Come Fly the World: The Jet Age Story of the Women of Pan Am," by Julia Cooke. I wish to extend my gratitude to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for making an electronic ARC available to me for review. Many of you are aware that there has been a great deal of interest in Pan American Airlines per se as well as the women who made careers as stewardesses during the 50's, 60' and 70's. Perspectives and narrative approaches have varied widely, and I have ...more
Olga Tokarczuk writes in her most celebrated novel Flights: “Fluidity, mobility, illusoriness-these are precisely the qualities that make us civilized. Barbarians don't travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids.” True to her message, many of us might not have realized how our daily lives are now shaped by the rise of the modern way of travelling: by plane. About a century ago, it was unthinkable how hyperconnected our world could be and how we could be in two vastly different place ...more
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For those of you, like me who are fascinated by historical events, the evolution of the aviation industry, and specifically the seemingly glamorous days of flying on a Pan Am flight, this book is for you.

I can cite several things that drew me into these topics - does anyone remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, View from the Top? Or what about that scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei gets the Pan Am stewardess bag? Are you obsessed with Mad Men? Or, in school, did you start in the Women of Locker
At 3% in I realized that this story was going to be fast. It took me a minute to believe it was a memoir/nonfiction read though, it reads like a "based on a true story" read. That is not bad, and I'll give it a high 3.5 stars for the story, but it gets rounded down to a 3 because of the pacing. It's a tad slow for my liking, but nonetheless, a good story. I really enjoy historical reads, I think more so now that stories are starting to happen closer to my *gasp* birth year. If you liked Mad Men ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you Goodreads for letting me win this book. This was a good read. I didn’t read it verbatim but I did learn about women in the airline industry. I will definitely recommend for my Library get a copy of this book.
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to review an advance copy of Come Fly the World, and I recommend that you go out and get a copy when it's published on March 2, 2021.

Come Fly the World is a fascinating look at the world of flight attendants in a more glamorous age, although that age clearly was more challenging on a number of levels. Women took on the role of flight attendant ("stewardess" back then) for many reasons, among them the freedom to travel and see the world, personal independence, and the opport
Erin Loranger
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The description of this book was immediately appealing to me and I was expecting a very light read about the early years of air travel and behind-the-scenes- stories of flight attendants from that era. I was surprised and delighted that it was so much more. Author Julia Cooke found a very interesting way to follow the career trajectories of a handful of Pa
Amanda Mae
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent read. Not only a brief history of Pan Am flight attendants, but aviation in general. Lots of fun trivia about uniforms and training and routes. The author follows a few actual stewardesses through their careers in the 60s and 70s, involving the Vietnam baby lift and women’s rights and politics both domestic and abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and can’t wait to tell my former Pam Am flight attendant aunt about it!
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Julia Cooke Come Fly The World The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2021

Thank you, Net Galley, for the advance uncorrected proof sent to me for review.

Firstly, I need to say that if this uncorrected proof is evidence of the standard that can be expected from a proofed copy the standard will be remarkably high. This uncorrected copy was well formatted, meticulously organised, with consistency in the chapter title design, and provided a read unhindered by numerous t
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: airline industry nerds, FAs and pilots, pop culture vultures
I was interested in this book as I grew up in the airline industry and worked as an airline pilot until I was laid off. My mother had been a “stewardess” for North Central Airlines until her marriage in 1958. She was forced to quit. She told me many times later “Oh, how I wished I had lied about getting married. Everybody I know tossed their wedding rings in the glove compartment of their cars before they went to work.” My dad worked as an agent for North Central, and later in the air freight de ...more
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received a free ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am! As an international flight attendant working for a legacy airline in the US, we're bombarded with pictures and stories of what is referred to as The Golden Era of aviation. When everyone wore their Sunday best on airplanes and the first class meals weren't overrated frozen meals, but freshly cooked roa
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The bubbly looking cover may lead reader to believe this is a tell all about the life of a stewardess - salacious stories of famous passengers, men in every port, and dealing with strange people. But there have been plenty of those 'memoirs' written and this is a different animal altogether: a thoroughly researched view of Pam Am's stewardesses as told through three individuals with the emphasis on the historic milieu
The advertisement went something along the lines of: woman between 5'3 and 5'9, less than 140 pounds, speak at least two languages, be under 26 years of age, want to travel and meet people. Thousands of young women applied for and went through interviews for each and every position. Training weeded out even more until eventually, they were stewardesses and ready to perform their duties - serving coffee and meals thousands of feet in the air. Most airplane travelers at that time - the late 1950's ...more
Sugarpuss O'Shea
I can remember my first flight as if it were yesterday: It was 1977 & we were flying up from FL to NY to see Grandma & Grandpa for Easter break. We were all dressed up--my sister & I wore similar corduroy pant suits with a pretty sweater vest over ruffled, collared shirts. (Mom wasn't sure if pants were dressy enough to fly, but she knew we would be cold when we got to NY & figured we could get away with not wearing dresses because we were just kids.) We were on an Eastern Airlines plane that ha ...more
Mar 09, 2021 added it
One of my absolute favorite eras is the 1960s leading into the 1970s. If you're someone who loves Mad Men or anything from that time, this is the book for you. When the series Pan Am was cancelled, I always craved more stories from that time and experience in travel and aviation. Furthermore, the direct encounters and societal norms that women faced during the era are especially intriguing to me.

Last year, I made a conscious effort to read more non-fiction. I achieved this by starting with readi
Cheryl Sokoloff
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I admit that the cover of Come Fly the World was one of the reasons I felt compelled to pick up Julia Cooke's book. But, once I started reading it, the stories about the lives of the stewardesses she profiled, all of whom worked for Pan Am International Airlines, were equally compelling (as the cover), if not more so.

First and foremost, it must be understood that Pan Am was the only airline that flew EXCLUSIVELY, INTERNATIONAL flights. So, if you boarded a Pan Am flight, then you were getting o
3 Things About This Book
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Pan Am was living its last days when I was born, so I didn't get to experience Pan Am glory. But one thing lived on: Pan Am girls! Their glory beating that of Pan Am itself was something that was talked about even year's after company's dissolution. Even today when I dress up certain way and people jokingly ask "when is your next flight?", I tell them I took a page from Pan Am girls' book. They were the highlight of the flight industry. Now looking back though all I can see is how they were obje ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Slightly on the fence with how to rate this one because sometimes it's fascinating and other times it gets lost from its focus (as stated in the title) of Women of Pan Am. I loved the parts stemming from interviews with Lynne, Tori, Karen, and Clare. The part about the training they went through, the amount of education most stewardess had, the bits about foreign travel and the 'family' welcome given to Pan Am employees by former employees, the types of flights the ran, the sexism and the fight ...more
Apr 02, 2021 is currently reading it
It started for me with those fabulous blue and white square travel bags... I was enamored with Pan Am Airlines. Sadly, I wasn't old enough for their heyday of two-story flights with a lounge, bar, and warm meals at any given time of the day.

Come Fly The World is the epitome of those fabulous bags and more! I read this in March which in the United States is National Women's History month — a perfect time to celebrate and read about the women who served customers, consoled Vietnam Soldiers, picke
Mar 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC of this book!

All I know about the golden age of flying is from the movies and TV shows. And as we all know, Hollywood often doesn't exactly tell the truth. So I was eager to learn more about the stewardesses of this age, known for their glamour and somewhat loose morals. Come Fly the World delivered.

Come Fly the World is the story of the stewardesses of Pan Am airlines, an airline that flew exclusively international flights and was the leader of
Come Fly the World details the history of flight attendants. The jazzy cover and description grabbed my attention. I love air travel and enjoy the history of women in the workforce, so this seemed like a great read. I thought the content was excellent, but the delivery fell flat for me. I wanted to like this book so much. I'd read a bit, think the narrative was fascinating (plane hijackers, hot pants and fishnets, and EEOC lawsuits!), and then lose attention/want to put the book down because not ...more
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is the story of the Pan Am stewardesses during the time of the Vietnam war. Cooke focusses on a handful of women and tells their stories, from them answering the ad (‘Stewardesses wanted, must want the world’) through their training to the gruelling schedules of constant flights. This is the story of a group of women, who wanted more than the office admin, closely followed by marriage and children route that was the current path set out for them. Cooke also covers the many flights that Pan ...more
Mary Lins
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
“Come Fly the World”, by Julia Cooke, is a fascinating look at the early days of “stewardess-ing”, specifically for Pan Am. Cooke follows several young women and recounts their experiences. My daughter has been a SWA Flight Attendant for over 20 years, and I know a lot has changed about the position, but I imagine a lot has stayed the same, as well.

Cooke follows several real women as they decide to become “Air Hostesses” and we follow their careers and highly unique experiences. This is a way o
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